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Are Herbal Cigarettes Healthy?

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: BStone • updated: 4/13/2011

Are herbal cigarettes healthy? Putting any kind of smoke in your lungs can be bad for you. Learn the dangers of smoking herbal cigarettes and see why they can be harmful to your body like regular cigarettes.

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    Are Herbal Cigarettes Healthy?

    A pack of herbal cigarettes Herbal cigarettes look similar to regular cigarettes, but instead of containing tobacco, they contain herbs (most commonly ginseng, jasmine, passion flower, and marshmallow). Many people know herbs are healthy for you, but are are herbal cigarettes healthy for you too?

    Although they may be considered healthier for you than cigarettes containing tobacco, they are not healthy for you. If you already smoke tobacco, herbal cigarettes can be a better choice because they do not contain nicotine or additives found in tobacco (of course, it is best to quit smoking all together).

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    The dangers of smoking herbal cigarettes are the same as smoking regular cigarettes when inhaled. They both produce harmful toxins, including tar and carbon monoxide.


    Tar burns tiny hairlike structures (called cilia) in the respiratory tract (bronchial tubes), which are responsible for trapping harmful particles, thus preventing them from entering the lungs. Tar is associated with lung diseases and can cause lung cancer. Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day, can breathe in almost a cup of tar in one year.

    Carbon Monoxide

    Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, is absorbed into the blood from the lungs. It blocks oxygen from being absorbed into the blood and prevents red blood cells from carrying oxygen to body tissues, including muscle, the brain, and the heart. Immediate effects from carbon monoxide in cigarettes can cause an increased heart rate and shortness of breath. Over time, carbon monoxide exposure can contribute to fat buildup on the walls of arteries, lead to heart disease, and cause heart failure.


    There is another type of "herbal" cigarette that is actually more dangerous than regular cigarettes. These are called clove cigarettes, also known as kreteks. They contain roughly 60% tobacco and 40% ground cloves. According to the American Lung Association, clove cigarettes deliver twice as much tar, carbon monoxide, and nicotine as regular cigarettes.


    Are herbal cigarettes healthy? No. The dangers of smoking herbal cigarettes can be just as deadly as regular cigarettes.

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